Consequences of refusing a roadside sobriety test

In Tennessee, the process of applying for and receiving a driver’s license includes automatically giving consent to a breath or blood test if pulled over by law enforcement on suspicion of driving while intoxicated. A person does not have to consent to performing field sobriety tests and can refuse such tests.

Despite the strong possibility of penalties, people do refuse to take breath and other types of sobriety tests. Data gathered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration showed that over 20 percent of people stopped for suspected impairment decide not to cooperate with police officers.

Whether a person undergoes a sobriety test or not, the resulting criminal charges could produce serious penalties like fines, loss of driving privileges and jail time if a conviction is obtained. Someone confronted by drunk driving charges could obtain services from an attorney who represents people accused of DUI. The efforts of an attorney could allow a person to understand courtroom procedures and make informed decisions when interacting with authorities. To defend the person, an attorney might challenge the legitimacy of the traffic stop and the evidence gathered. Mistakes made while conducting a sobriety test might enable the attorney to seek a dismissal of the charges or a reduced penalty.

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